Green Bay has selected a running back in the 6th round who set school records in yards gained and touchdowns, without ever taking a snap last fall. James Starks from the University of Buffalo was chosen by the Packers as the 193rd player overall. Starks is a tall 6-2 and 218 pounds who piled up 3140 yards on the ground in his career with the Bulls, catching an impressive 127 passes out of the backfield and scoring a whopping 34 touchdowns and 222 points. The numbers were put up in his first three years because last summer at spring practice he developed shoulder pain. Upon further examination, doctors found a labral tear in his left shoulder and the medical staff convinced him to have season ending surgery. The operation took place in August and Starks was able to rehab the shoulder in time to participate in the scouting combine in February. He tested well with speed and agility but benched only 1 reps which likely scared off scouts and was the reason he lasted to late in the 6th round. Starks was coached the Packers former director of player development Turner Gill, who turned around the fledgling program in the Mid-American Conference and he eventually accepted the Kansas head coaching job this winter. Starks was an all-around athlete at Niagara Falls High School, playing on a nationally ranked basketball team that featured former Syracuse standout and Minnesota Timberwolves number one draft choice Johnny Flynn. He arrived at Buffalo as a quarterback, but was converted to defensive back until Gill arrived on the scene and made him a running back. Starks made the change pay off with 12 games of more than 100 yards and as a junior, had back to back 200 yard efforts. Packers running back coach Edgar Bennett says Starks is a wiry runner with good hips and solid pop in his game. His athleticism pays off while running routes and he's a capable blocker in blitz protection. Bennett says he's a bit inconsistent with his pad level but that's understandable for his height, at 6-2, taller than the average back. Green Bay has no issues with starter Ryan Grant, coming off a 1200 yard season where he ranked third in the NFC and 7th in the league. Primary backup Brandon Jackson made strides last year but the Packers aren't likely to bring back veteran Ahman Green and they've already parted ways with DeShawn Wynn. Starks could come in and earn a job as the number three back fairly easily.
The pride of Iola-Scandanavia High School has found work. Defensive End Austin Lane of Murray State and a former I-S Warrior was drafted in the 5th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lane set school sack records at Murray was taken one pick ahead of Green Bay's selection of tight end Andrew Quarless.